Music Composition

Conservatory
Clint Needham, Composer in Residence
music@bw.edu

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OVERVIEW

Develop your artistic talent and build analytical, entrepreneurial and technical skills needed for a career in music composition.

Baldwin Wallace composition major is a comprehensive, rigorous program that melds theoretical study with practical application. It provides outstanding preparation for graduate school.

You'll complement classroom studies with real-world experiences that showcase your work. BW's robust schedule of more than 325 Conservatory events a year provides ample opportunities for high-quality performances of student-composed work.

Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are inherent to the program. BW's faculty-student ratio is 7:1 for the Conservatory of Music.

Faculty are established professionals with real-world experience, impressive credentials and networking connections.

They're published composers, authors, musicians and researchers. Their interests include Renaissance music, world music, film music, post-tonal theory, pedagogy of music theory and harmonic function, to name a few.

Within the composition program, BW faculty are award-winning composers whose work has been performed worldwide.

Also beneficial to your studies is BW's 20-minute proximity to Cleveland – home of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Playhouse Square and more.

Career Opportunities

Many music composition students pursue graduate degrees. You'll receive excellent preparation through BW's liberal arts-focused curriculum and Conservatory of Music coursework and practical experiences. Career possibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Composer
  • Arranger
  • Professor

All-Steinway School

BW is closing in on achieving the elite All-Steinway School designation for its Conservatory of Music. Once accomplished, BW will join a prestigious list of 11 conservatories worldwide that boast this renowned classification. The addition of 88 Steinway pianos will further elevate your learning experience by having lessons and performance opportunities on the same quality instruments that are the standard in concert halls worldwide.

Vibrant Facility that Engages Students

Striking Boesel Musical Art Center is a picturesque four-building complex that houses BW's Conservatory of Music. It's a seamless blend of historic architecture and modern design. The facility houses 50 soundproofed practice rooms, instructional space, practice studios and impressive rehearsal halls that can accommodate the latest technologies for teaching and performance.

Exceptional Learning Experiences

Innovation, excellence and outstanding hands-on learning and performance opportunities make Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music a proven choice for students nationwide. The undergraduate-only Conservatory provides an exceptional learning environment for students to take lead roles in performing, conducting, managing and teaching. Alumni can be found at top graduate schools and working with the best orchestras, operas and theatres. Other alumni are employed in rewarding positions in teaching, arts management and music therapy.

Conservatory Students are Talented, Intelligent

BW Conservatory of Music students are achievers. Over the past three years, the average ACT score for incoming students was 26. The average SAT score was 590 for verbal and 570 for mathematics.

CURRICULUM

Rigorous coursework coupled with intensive and extensive practical experiences provide comprehensive learning.

Through coursework, you'll study music theory, history and literature, form and analysis, orchestration and more. You'll learn to apply critical thinking, creative vision and technical skills to the process of creating and arranging music.

Outside the classroom, you'll take private lessons and participate in rehearsals and performances with a large ensemble, among other activities.

Music composition offers an outstanding foundation for graduate school. It can be studied as a single major or companion field of study for a double major or minor. It also can be added as a music emphasis to any Conservatory major.

Special Degree Emphasis

Students can apply to participate in one of the Conservatory's emphasis programs. Music emphasis programs may be added to any Conservatory major to provide more intensive, focused and experiential study of a particular area of music. Emphasis areas include chamber music, composition, conducting, jazz, music history, music theory, pedagogy (studio teaching) and sacred music.

Composition Master Classes

Master classes are an integral part of the education of every Conservatory student. Each year BW hosts a number of guest artists, including professional composers and performers who specialize in new music.

Past guests Include:

  • Loris Chobanian
  • John Corigliano
  • Don Freund
  • Witold Lutoslawski
  • Stephen Paulus
  • Krzysztof Penderecki
  • Andrew Rindfleish
  • Sven-David Sandstrom
  • Joseph Schwantner
  • Sean Shepherd
  • Chen Yi

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.

STUDENT EXPERIENCES

BW student composers have been recognized with national and international awards. They have been accepted to top music festivals and graduate schools.

Student success is a top priority at Baldwin Wallace. Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of Conservatory of Music programs.

Experiential learning bridges classroom study with real-world opportunities. Numerous solo and departmental opportunities to perform put you at the forefront of career preparation. Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music offers an impressive array of performance opportunities.

Among small ensembles, BW has a Brass Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Band and Flute Ensemble, to name just a few.

On a larger scale, competitive auditions are held for positions in BW's Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Motet Choir and University Choir. Other impressive large ensembles include the Symphonic Band, BW Singers and Women's Choir.

Student Podcasts

Showcasing student work through recitals and other opportunities is a key part of BW's Conservatory experience. A sampling of recent work includes podcasts of:

James Kunselman '16
Pushing Forward – for solo marimba

Steven Hixson '16
Sonata and Postlude – for solo piano

Sean Ellis Hussey '14
Ripple – for electronics

Impressive Performance Opportunities

Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music has outstanding campus performance traditions and collaborations with regional and national organizations. A few examples include:

Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival
The three-day campus event is the oldest collegiate Bach Festival in the country. It features lectures, BW performance groups, faculty members and renowned professional soloists and musicians. Baldwin Wallace students consider the unusual opportunity of participating, as colleagues, with world-class professionals a high point in their performing experience. The festival is evolving to include year-round events, such as Bach Haus, that explore Bach's influence on a broad spectrum of music.

FOCUS Festival of Contemporary Music
The biennial festival features the music of a contemporary composer who visits Baldwin Wallace for a week-long residency. At the conclusion of the week's rehearsals and symposia, the composer's music is performed in a series of concerts, including large ensembles and chamber groups.

Art Song Festival
BW Conservatory of Music is home to this week-long biennial event that brings international concert artists, singers and pianists to campus. The festival focuses on the unique relationship between singer and pianist in the performance of art song repertoire. It provides an opportunity to hear renowned artists in both recital and master classes.

fyoo zh en: new music+dance
A collaboration of BW student composers and choreographers, fyoo zh en is an artistic expression of original movement and music. It showcases student work through an annual production that is dramatic, imaginative and poignant.

PRISM
A collaborative, cabaret-style show, PRISM encompasses music, visual arts, dance, theatrics and more. This annual event offers opportunities for BW composition students to present their work.

Learning Resources

At Baldwin Wallace, student learning experiences are enhanced by exceptional resources that include:

Riemenschneider Bach Institute
The institute houses rare items related to J.S. Bach and his circle, as well as historical reference materials, scores and a collection of classic recordings. It has one of nation's most impressive holdings of Baroque manuscripts and first editions. It attracts scholars from around the world.

Ferne Patterson Jones Memorial Music Library
A valuable campus resource, the library offers 18,000 scores, 7,000 books, and more than 10,000 sound and video recordings. Online resources to which the library subscribes include over one million tracks of streaming audio and video. Help with research is available by appointment, on a walk-in basis or through email.

ALUMNI SUCCESS

At Baldwin Wallace, you'll experience personal and professional growth in a supportive community that challenges and inspires you to succeed.

BW Music Composition Majors Find Success:

Keane Southard '09 is a composer intern at Bennington College and a freelance composer and pianist. After completing his MM in composition at the University of Colorado-Boulder, he did research in Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar. He credits BW with preparing him to conduct research and develop his talent in composition.

Chris Porter '06 is an LA-based composer working in the concert, film and theatre music industries. His music has recently been performed at the Oregon Bach Festival. He was nominated for Best Original Score in the Detroit Independent Film Festival and was a finalist for a Student Academy Award.

John HC Thompson '00 is the artistic director of the FiveOne Experimental Orchestra and is an organist for Cleveland's hockey team, the Lake Erie Monsters. He received his Master of Music in composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was awarded the Donald Erb prize.

Jeremy Piper '00 earned his MM from Kent State University and is currently leader of the Jeremy Piper Jazz Combo. His music has recently been performed on a series given by the Cleveland Composers Guild.

Scott Burnham '79 is currently the Scheide professor of music history at Princeton University. He received his Master of Music in composition degree from Yale University and his PhD in music theory from Brandeis University. He is a published author of numerous books and articles for music journals.

Tony Holland '79 is professor of music at Skidmore College, where he teaches composition and conducts the orchestra. He received his Master of Music in composition and his Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has served as chair for the College Orchestra Directors Association. His compositions have been performed across the United States, South America, Europe and in China.

FACULTY & STAFF

Katherine Kilburn
Composition Program Coordinator
kkilburn@bw.edu

Clint Needham
Composer-in-Residence
Assistant Professor of Music
cdneedha@bw.edu
Podcasts: Cradle My Heart – Performed by the BW Motet Choir and Urban Sprawl – Performed by Alarm Will Sound

Jonathan Sokol
Lecturer in Composition
jsokol@bw.edu
Podcasts: Tsubame (Swallows) and Le Salève